Portal sites use and abuseThe arrogant and monopolistic Internet portal sites Naver and Daum have gone too far.
Six organizations, consisting of 240 Internet news media outlets, have launched an association of producers of news and other contents to challenge the portal sites.
The association claims that the portal sites have been using content from the Internet news media, revising it, then copying and circulating it without getting permission from the original producers. In the process, the association argues, the portals have significantly violated people’s privacy and defamed them.
As the use of the Internet has spread widely, portal sites have become a major power. Although they do not produce content, they dominate the market with the content they acquire from other diverse media.
On any given day, more than 1 billion clicks are made on portal sites. The leading portal site, Naver, dominates 75 percent of the market. Except for the public service sector, such a dominant monopoly does not exist in any other industry.
As soon as content is posted, the portal sites enjoy the benefits although other producers make the effort.
It is like the Korean saying, “The bear does the trick but the people take the money.” Still, the reality is that the content producers have to depend on portal sites for people to see their content.
Portal sites serve as their own media by revising the content according to their preference, and changing their size and meaning. They argue that the portal sites are not media, just a place that circulates news.
According to the laws, the portal sites say they provide a telecommunications service, but are not media.
They are acting like opportunists ― trying to avoid the media’s social responsibility while enjoying the benefits.
It is time to re-establish the role of portal sites. If they remain stuck in this distorted system, the media market will be harmed.
The government should revise the relevant laws. The government should also investigate and correct the portal sites’ illegal transactions, copyright violations and spread of illegal, obscene content.
Portal sites ought to humbly accept public criticism and have a sense of responsibility that matches their market size.
Media companies and content producers, as well, need to reflect whether they have cheaply sold their content while digging their own graves.